Education and Professional Experience

I completed my undergraduate degree in Sociology and Psychology at the University of Iowa in 1966 and went on to receive my Master's degree in Sociology at Iowa in 1968. I did my doctoral work at the University of Minnesota and was awarded the Ph.D. in Sociology in 1973. I was a full-time member of the faculty of Florida State University from 1972 until my retirement at the end of 2007. From 1984 to 1987, I was the Editor of Social Problems, the official journal of the Society for the Study of Social Problems (SSSP). I chaired the FSU Department of Sociology from 1992 to 1996 and served on a number of university-wide committees including the FSU Human Subjects Committee, the University Curriculum Committee, the Graduate Policy Committee, and the University Promotion and Tenure Committee. I currently teach distance learning courses as an adjunct professor at FSU and the University of Maryland University College.


My initial honors at FSU were the Provost's Teaching Award in 1977 and a Developing Scholar Award in 1978. Since then, I have received two Departmental Best Teacher Awards (1980 and 2001), a College of Social Sciences Teaching Award (1990), and four university-wide awards--the Teaching Incentive Award (1994 and 1996) and the University Teaching Award (1990 and 2002). I was also elected as Vice President (1988-89) and President (1994-95) of the SSSP and as Chair of the Section on Alcohol and Drugs of the American Sociological Association (1993-94).

Teaching and Research Interests

My teaching and research interests center on the study of deviance and social problems, especially alcohol- and drug-related problems. Much of my recent work focuses on the social definition of deviant drinking and drug use in the mass media and in everyday life. I currently teach distance learning courses on Alcohol & Drug Problems, Alcohol in U.S. Society, and Deviance & Social Control. A collection of articles that I co-edited with David Rudy, Drugs, Alcohol, and Social Problems, was published as part of a series of volumes sponsored by the SSSP. My most recent research focuses on journalists' deconstruction of politicians' claims about drug problems during the 1996 U.S. presidential campaign (Journal of Drug Issues, 2009) and on alternative theoretical explanations of deviant drinking among adolescents and young adults (Sociological Spectrum, 2012) .

Two articles that provide good examples of my philosophy of teaching and of my interest in the social construction of drug-related problems are available through the following links:

SSSP Presidential Address: "Teaching in the social laboratory and the mission of SSSP: Some lessons from the Chicago School." Social Problems 43 (August 1996):235-245.

Constructing a "Coke Plague": "Shocking numbers and graphic accounts: Quantified images of drug problems in the print media." Social Problems 40 (May 1993):190-206.


E-mail: jorcutt at
Departmental Website: FSU Sociology
Phone: [850]-644-6416